Pickleball Points: Gift ideas for the players on your holiday shopping list – The Desert Sun
So, you have a loved one who’s into pickleball — or maybe you want to get them into the game? We’ve got gift ideas galore for you for Christmas or any other occasion!
One of the best ways to celebrate is to spend quality time with the person you are gifting. Give them a guest pass to a club, purchase a drill class or a lesson for them, or set up an event where you and your friends all get together for a pickleball social. You can even buy someone an entry to a round-robin like the ones Mary organizes – people love getting things like this! Pros offer clinics during big events: Why not buy your friend a registration for an upcoming clinic?
A good way to find out about such things is to follow local pickleball groups on Facebook like the Coachella Valley Pickleball Association or Palm Springs Pickleball.
Buy someone a membership to USA Pickleball – this supports the sport, and it is a great website with loads of information. New members get three free Franklin pickleballs and discounts on other equipment and programs. $35 (usapickleball.org/memberships/)
How about a subscription to InPickleball? The magazine publishes 10 print issues per year. Normally $29.99 but use code SAVE5 and you’ll get $5 off. inpickleball.com/offer/
Pickleballs are always a good idea and they’re lightweight if you’re worried about shipping costs! Mary recommends Dura or Franklin for outdoor balls. Dura outdoor pickleball sampler, 12 balls in yellow, orange, and neon. $39.99
Ball hoppers and pick-up tubes are great for those who drill. How about a Franklin Pickleball 12 Ball Retrieval Tube. No more bending and reaching for pickleballs; the tube retrieves, stores and transports 12 balls. $29.99
If you’re feeling particularly flush, how about a Lobster Pickle Ball Machine? Practice your shots even without a partner. Holds up to 135 pickleballs and works with indoor or outdoor balls. $989.
Shirts, jackets, visors, hats, shorts, shirts — the online store Pickleball Central has togs for every player, from sleek athletic gear endorsed by pros like Tyson McGuffin to T-shirts with funny sayings on them. (“I may be a grandpa, but I can still kick your butt in pickleball” was one of our favorites.) From $20.
The variety of pickleball-themed accessories is exploding and there’s something at every price point. We browsed Pickleball Central and found these items:
At Pickleball Central, you can use Mary’s ambassador discount code: armbarsaleau for 5% off on all purchases.
Ornaments: The past few years, Mary has given pickle ornaments as gifts, and people love them. There are pickle ornaments, and pickles with Santa hats on them – so cute! You can hang them on your tree, or anywhere – your car, your club, your home. From about $12.99
Stickers: For your bumper, bag or anywhere else. The online shop Pickleball Xtra has some cool designs starting at $7.99. Etsy also has some fun options.
If you’re overwhelmed by the choices, you can always give a gift certificate to buy something pickle-related.
Palm Springs Parks and Recreation is holding a “Laser Pickleball” event from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center. Come drop some day-glo dinks (wear fluorescent gear to glow in the dark). Entry is free for members or $5 for drop-in. Call 760-323-8271 for more info.
There are lots of YouTube videos out there from many instructors and pro pickleball players. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some suggestions:
Beginners: Try to watch “How to play and keep score” videos that show where to stand, how to rotate, and the basic flow of the game. The best instructional videos are from Sarah Ansboury — check out her blog/videos at sarahansboury.com. They are short, to the point and focus on execution of the skill. A membership to her video library costs $27 per month.
Those who want to move up a level: Watching videos is great, but the best bet is to drill and play with people who are better than you. Enter round robins at a higher level, so you can test yourself and experience a format where every other team/player at that level has to play with you. This is hard to do out at a venue or in social play. Sarah Ansboury has YouTube instructional videos for level too, with really outstanding explanations and demos.
Those who want to start playing tournaments: Try not to just watch the current professionals! Many of them are young, elite athletes, and attempting to model their play is not a practical way to improve your games. Watch video of games or strategy or skill/technique demos that show someone your age and fitness level performing the sport. Schedule drill classes with three players of similar skill levels and a coach. This is the way to get the maximum out of a lesson.
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